Create Sustainable Kitchens and Bathrooms

Not too long ago, the "green" bathroom or kitchen conjured images of avocado appliances or sea foam colored toilets. Today, however, "green" takes on an entirely new connotation. Kitchens and baths that employ environmentally conscious products and procedures are growing in popularity.

Individuals inclined toward green spaces may wonder just how to achieve a sustainable kitchen or bath. The concept lies in rooms that use less water and energy than traditional rooms.

Getting started could involve choosing fixtures that require less water usage. Low-flow faucets and showerheads and reduced-capacity toilets can go a long way toward saving water. Additionally, using these conservation fixtures does not mean a homeowner has to sacrifice creature comforts. New technology means that despite reduced water use, the fixtures still provide ample pressure for showering and hand-washing and adequate flushing power. If a toilet was installed prior to 1994 it should be replaced for a more efficient model.

Being sustainable means more than just reducing water, however. Other changes can be employed all at once or gradually. Recycled glass tile as a backsplash or in a shower surround is an idea. It utilizes glass that has been recycled and is a smart, eco-friendly option. Consider flooring that is made from recyclable or sustainable materials. Bamboo quickly replenishes itself in the wild, making it a truly green item. However, vinyl flooring made from composite recycled materials is also practical.

In terms of saving energy, lower the thermostat on the water heater. Not only will this reduce the chance of scalding, but it will save energy on heating water as well. Replacing inefficient lighting fixtures can go a long way toward saving energy, too. Shop for attractive, yet efficient, fixtures that employ CFL bulbs or even LEDs.

When shopping for bathroom and kitchen essentials, such as towels, toilet tissue and cosmetic products, be conscious of the way these products are made and manufactured. Choose recyclable paper products whenever possible. Be sure to have a recycling pail in both the kitchen and the bath to collect items that shouldn't be trashed, but recycled. This includes cardboard toilet paper tubes, plastic product bottles and more.

Green appliances call to mind energy-efficient dishwashers and refrigerators. But green can extend to the stove, too. Induction cooktops provide faster heating times and more efficient cooking than gas or electric alternatives. Induction enables 90 percent of the heat generated to go directly into the cooking vessel, compared with 75 percent for electric and about 40 percent for gas. Plus, induction cooktops work with magnets, making them a safer choice for families.

Creating sustainable kitchens and baths is easier than one may think. A few changes over time can transform a space.